With the transport sector being the largest contributor of CO2 in the UK, a move towards a fully electric automobile industry will undoubtedly be a significant defence in the fight against climate change. However, the government’s now trademark reactionary policy making, changing the ban of the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2040 to 2030 has transferred the emphasis onto landlords to take expedited action to provide occupants with access to charging capability and to cope with the influx in demand for electric cars.
Between a shock and a hard place
It is essential that landlords understand and consider the legal, as well as financial, ramifications of installing electric charge points to their properties.
So what should landlords consider before they make any alterations?
Issues to consider include:-
- The rights granted to tenants in their leases and whether you are able to install the charging points.
Do the leases reserve rights for you to close, vary or reduce the amount of car parking spaces to install the charge points? If the spaces are demised to individuals, will they surrender their rights for a premium?
- Are all costs related to the charge point recoverable within the service charge?
Are the service charge provisions broad enough to allow you to charge for the associated costs of installation and maintaining of the charge point and is there a service charge cap?
- Are any governmental grants or subsidies available?
Government help such as the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme has been extended to include rented premises and landlords can apply for it on behalf of their tenants so long as they meet the requirements that someone owns, leases or has ordered a qualifying vehicle and has dedicated off street parking at their property. Such assistance may help to offset costs ensuring service charges do not rise rapidly.
- Will you require consent from a superior landlord or a bank which holds a charge over your interest to make the instalment?
You do not want to breach any conditions of a superior lease or charge which could result in further financial cost to you. Check the terms of your superior lease or charge before proceeding.
- If you allow an electric charging point provider to install a charging point, how will you ensure they will not have security of tenure?
If you hire an electric charging point provider which will install and maintain the point, you will need to ensure that your agreement limits the term to ensure the provider will not have security of tenure over the parking space.
- Whether planning permission or other associated permissions are required.
Consider the type of premises you own and whether further permission is required to make any changes. Does your lease allow you to pass the cost of planning onto tenants via the service charge or will the cost fall to you?
Whether these issues apply will depend upon your premises and the agreed terms of the lease and therefore special attention should be taken to read through and negotiate where necessary.
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